Wealth took many different forms in the Bible. In early Old Testament times, wealth was often measured by how many sheep, goats and other animals one owned. King Solomon was known in part for his tremendous wealth. In fact, gold was so common during his reign, that another precious metal – silver – was considered worthless!
By the New Testament, coins were in use. Coins played an important role in several stories in the New Testament. Our fun, flexible, family devotional allows you to pick the story and application principle you believe your kids most need. Then we will give you some fun ideas of things to do with your kids to help them better understand what these lessons teach.
So let’s get started!
Materials: coins, optional:special snack or treat
Procedure: Choose one of the following Bible stories and application principles to teach your children.
- Coin in the Mouth of the Fish. Matthew 17:24-27. Jesus and his apostles had arrived in Capernaum. The men who were in charge of collecting the Temple tax quickly found them and asked Peter if Jesus payed the Temple tax. The Bible doesn’t explain why they asked the question, but it does record Peter’s answer that Jesus did. Jesus told Peter to drop a line into the lake and open the mouth of the first fish he caught. There, Jesus told Peter, he would find enough money to pay both his and Jesus’ Temple tax. Jesus told Peter they would pay the tax so they wouldn’t offend, although he also made it clear he (Jesus) as the son of God should actually be exempt from the tax. There are several possible application principles in this story, but one of the more interesting is that the collectors of the Temple tax were so focused on collecting Jesus’ tax, they totally missed what they could have gained from being in the presence of the son of God. They were distracted by the details of running the Temple and missed the bigger picture of the Messiah in their midst. We, too, can become distracted by the things in our lives and lose sight of what is really important – worshipping and serving God.
- Jesus Cleanses the Temple. Matthew 21:12-17. Towards the end of his ministry, Jesus entered the Temple area. He became angry the priests were taking advantage of the people and using the sacrifices as a way to make money off of the people – evidently robbing them in the process, by charging rates much higher than would normally be expected. They had gotten by with this for who knows how long as many worshippers at the Temple had come from a great distance and could not bring an animal for a sacrifice with them. They needed to purchase the animal once they reached Jerusalem. Some also need to exchange other currencies for the local currency. What may have started out as a convenience had become a way for the priests to take advantage of the people. Jesus was so angry, he overturned their tables and reprimanded them from turning a house of prayer into a den of thieves. We need to be careful we don’t use God as an excuse to take advantage of other people. God’s money should be used to help others learn about Him and to serve others who need help. It shouldn’t be used to make some people rich.
- Judas. Matthew 26:14-16. Judas was one of the original 12 Apostles. He was chosen by Jesus to be in his inner circle. He had been with Jesus traveling as Jesus taught and performed miracles. Yet something didn’t reach the heart of Judas. He agreed to betray Jesus for only 30 silver coins. Judas had his priorities out of order. Money and perhaps other worldly goals were more important to him than Jesus. It is easy for us to get our priorities out of order, too. Like Judas we can become more interested in money and the things it can buy us than we are in worshipping and serving God.
Tell your kids the Bible story you chose and it’s application principle. Before calling the children to your Bible study, hide several coins around your house or yard. After sharing the Bible story and application with them, tell them they will need to find all of the coins you have hidden in order to pay for something very important. (You may want to limit the search area and set some ground rules to prevent chaos and destruction!)
After they have found all of the coins, ask them what they were thinking about as they looked for the coins. Were they excited about the idea of getting something important with them? Did they just want to find more coins than a sibling? Did they secretly want to keep the coins and skip using them to buy the important thing? As they share their answers, gently guide them into a discussion of money and how it can blind us to God and His importance. If your children are older, spend more time talking about materialism and ways to avoid it. With younger children, focus more on giving money to God.
After your discussion, you can have them give you the money to “buy” a special snack, or allow them to keep the money. If your children are older and you have the time, you may want to spend some time teaching them about budgeting and giving money to God first before they buy things for themselves.